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Nutrition For Fat Loss and F.A.Qs

Eating for fat and weight loss is confusing at best. The current, popular, media driven methods include carbohydrate slashing and drastic caloric reduction, both leading to rebound. 
Many mistakenly believe that exercise alone, with little or no consideration to food intake, will yield the desired body fat changes. 

The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of nutrition for the goal of fat loss. It will cover the significance of food profiles, balancing meals throughout the day, skipping meals and solutions to common obstacles involved with meal planning.

Food Profiles

Physiological and psychological responses to foods can vary dramatically between individuals, just as eating habits are personal. Some people may feel at their best when consuming higher protein and fat in the diet, while others might feel just as energetic by consuming more carbohydrates.

A food profile is a recommendation for the percentages of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that should make up one's daily menu. When consumed properly, this profile leads to greater energy and a lack of hunger, as opposed to a different combination of foods. 

Once the proper percentages are established by use of a detailed questionnaire, one can choose the exact foods that will fill the quota for each food group.

The goal of the profile is only to establish the parameters of the macronutrients and then give the dieter the freedom of selecting foods within those boundaries. The final result should be a varied food plan that the user would enjoy and continue eating due to increased energy levels and general well being.

Increasing your daily energy levels generally leads to greater spontaneous physical activity, which can accelerate the fat loss process. For example, a person might use the stairs rather than an elevator or simply move around the office or home more than before using this eating strategy. 
Another benefit of staying within your food profile is the satiety factor. When an individual is taking in fewer calories than they are used to, it is crucial that they do not feel hungry between meals. 

Regular compliance with the amount of calories that is necessary to reduce an individual's body fat is mandatory for success. Satiety (eliminating hunger through eating foodstuff) can be enhanced through the manipulation of the protein, carbohydrate and fat percentages.

The Following Table illustrates the five basic food profiles that can deliver a healthy array of foods. Each profile may affect an individual differently in regards to regular energy levels and satiety.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) at the University of Colorado and University of Pittsburgh records and evaluates those individuals who have been successful in losing weight. Their criteria for success included two standards: 

1.) Individuals must have lost at least 30 lbs. 
2.) They must have maintained the reduction for a minimum of 1 year. 

The average participant has maintained a loss of 66 lbs. for 5 years. The percentages of calories that came from the three macronutrients were recorded. The ranges that they discovered generally ranged from 45%-70% carbohydrate (CHO), 15%-25% protein, and 15% -32% fat. The mean was approximately 55% CHO, 20% protein, 25% fat.

The studies that have come out of the NWCR are the only comprehensive weight loss evaluations ever recorded in peer review literature. Not surprising, there is no record of success with the high protein, usually greater than 30%, or high fat diets that are currently so popular.

Meal Timing

Eating frequently throughout the day can help you stay energized and avoid making poor food choices. Eating smaller balanced meals often can assist in curtailing blood sugar fluctuations and lead to better compliance in consuming proper foods and long term success.
Skipping meals sabotages compliance. Missing a normally scheduled meal will leave you hungry, increasing the likelihood of making a poor food choice. 

As the day wears on, lack of proper meal timing will most likely cause a person to become so hungry that they will forget about their food plan. Now it becomes a matter of eating anything to satisfy the hunger! 
Fast food restaurants are an easy and devastating solution. They are quick and the food is laced with exactly what humans are genetically programmed to desire- sugar and fat. In fact, ketchup, one of America's favorite condiments, is simply a sweet way to deliver the salt and fat found in French fries. Most fast foods have a high calorie count, leading to too many calories and too little satiety.

Modern lifestyles in our fast-paced world have made it difficult to prepare a food plan for a week, much less a day. Make an effort to put together meals the day before or on the weekend when your schedule is less stressful. 

Studies have shown using meal replacement formulas as part of a food plan can assist in fat loss. Meal replacement formulas include bars and shakes, but not protein shakes, which can be used to add an accurate number of calories to your diet when food is not available. 

Another helpful tip is to never shop for groceries on an empty stomach. If you shop while you are hungry you are too tempted to fill your cart with foods that you wouldn't normally buy. 

Weighing and measuring food may seem tedious but according to the NWCR it is essential for success, but only needs to be done until you are comfortable measuring foods by sight and/or reading labels. 
For example some individuals think that three ounces of chicken is any piece of a full chicken, when in actuality it is the size of a deck of cards. Once you can approximate the calories of a portion of food by looking at it, you may want to discontinue weighing and measuring food.

In summary, discovering and consuming a diet based upon your individual food profile can enhance satiety and energy levels. 

Additionally, spending a little extra time or organization and education can amount to a much more realistic and enjoyable lifestyle, yielding greater results in the process. Balancing and timing meals can help to avoid energy swings and non- productive food choices. 

Recording food calories as well as weighing and measuring foods in the beginning of a weight loss program are key educational components that will increase your awareness and chances of long-term success. 

Remember, you already eat every day, so it's not much more difficult to add a little structure to the routine especially when the results are noticeable. 

I eat a high-protein diet that is low in carbohydrates because whenever I increase my carbohydrate intake, I feel bigger and/or gain weight. Why is this?

Most likely, a couple of forces are at work here. First, low-carbohydrate diets reduce total body water (dehydrate). This is the water that is held inside muscle cells and is essential for normal and optimal functioning of the cell. It is not extracellular water (water outside of cells), the type that is associated with bloating or holding water. When carbohydrate intake is increased, the amount of water brought into the cells increases, hydrating them. Since water does have weight, your weight can go up, but it is not fat.The second possibility is that increasing your carbohydrate intake increased your caloric intake above your weight maintenance level, and you started gaining some fat. Reduce some of the protein or fat to compensate for the increased carbohydrate intake, within healthful guidelines, and all will be fine.

Why are people improving their blood lipid profiles on the Atkins Diet?

Because it is a low-calorie diet, people will lose weight. Any weight loss, whether by Atkins diet or other method, will improve blood lipid profiles as well as lower blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels. However, if the person cannot maintain the weight loss, then the risk factors return. Maintenance of weight loss with the Atkins diet is unlikely.

Is it true that carbohydrates make a person fat?

If you eat more calories than you expend in energy, then anything can be stored as fat - protein, fat or carbohydrate.

Are high-fat diets best for losing weight?

While you may possibly lose weight on a high-fat diet, keep in mind that every diet has the potential to result in weight loss, no matter how realistic or unrealistic it may be. The formula for weight loss, however, is quite simple: eat fewer calories than you expend during a day. While many diets try to argue this point and attribute the weight lost on their diet to some special combination of foods or exacting percentage of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, the fact remains that all fad diets are simply low-calorie diets disguised by a marketing gimmick.Diets that are high in fats are generally also low in carbohydrates. This leads to an increased loss of intracellular water, which dehydrates the body. So in addition to any fat loss due to reduced calories, there can be a significant loss of water weight in the initial stages of these diets. There are approximately 3500 calories stored in a pound of fat. To lose 5-10 lbs in the course of one week (something often claimed or observed) would require a difference between energy consumed and expended of 17,500-35,000 calories! To say that is unlikely would be a gross understatement. So, obviously not all of the weight comes from fat. Much if not most, is the result of water loss. No one has complained that they have been steadily putting on water over the years and can no longer fit into their clothes. The stuff that you grab and hate is not water, but fat. Losing water will not cause the fat to go away.Ultimately, the method and eating plan used for weight loss must be able to be maintained. If it is not, then it is merely a temporary fix, and when the eating plan is discontinued, weight regain is likely. The National Weight Loss Registry, which tracks those that have achieved significant, long-term weight loss and is run by the Universities of Pittsburgh and Colorado, has documented that not one person has been successful by eliminating or severely restricting one of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat), therefore, until someone comes up with similar documentation that high-protein or high-fat diets can lead to long-term weight loss, this method cannot be recommended.

Do engineered foods spur a hypertrophic response and initiate fat loss?

No, exercise does. There are some formulated foods provided to patients who are being treated for a major illness or trauma. These foods can provide a rich mix of specific nutrients recommended by a physician. But for those who have a stomach and intestinal tract in good working order, there is no nutritional advantage to using "engineered" foods. They are grossly overpriced and yield no more results than natural food in the adequately fed individual.

I'm trying to lose fat. Should I avoid fruit, wheat products and dairy products?

No. When reducing calories for continuous fat loss (i.e., fitness models or bodybuilders striving for very low body fat levels), these foods (except wheat) may be eliminated as competition nears. Fruit and dairy products lack the substance or bulk of complex foods, so they don't contribute to satiety when calories are extremely low. But calories are calories.

I've heard that insulin resistance causes weight gain, so a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is recommended. Is that right?

No. Weight gain from high fat diets usually leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to other health problems such as coronary artery disease. The scientific recommendation for almost all insulin-resistant individuals, genetic or acquired, is a low-fat diet, moderate amounts of protein, high in complex carbohydrates and exercise. Insulin resistant individuals gain weight like anyone else - when they eat more calories than they burn. Insulin resistance may depress satiety signals, leading one to overeat.

Explain why switching from a high-protein diet to a high-carbohydrate diet might cause you to feel bloated initially.

Each part of stored glucose (glycogen) contains 2.7 parts water. With a high-protein diet, glycogen stores are consistently low and therefore water content is low, which decreases the cells' efficiency. The bloated feeling will eventually normalize when the body recovers to a properly hydrated state 


The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) at the University of Colorado and University of Pittsburgh

Apex Fitness Nutrition, Inc.

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